Radical Demagoguism

September 21, 1866


At a political rally in Ohio, the speaker pointed out a widow who stood in the crowd. Her husband has been killed in the Civil War by a Confederate. The editor of the Dispatch attacks the speaker for saying this and accuses the speaker of using the man's death for political gain.


Radical Demagogueism. At a radial mass meeting in Ohio recently, a political parson was one of the cliicl' speakers. He made the audience hold up their hands and swear what they intended to do. A widow was pointed out to him whose husband was killed during the war. Invoking the blessing of Heaven upon her in impassioned language, this reverend politician called upon the assemblage to uncover in her presence. The crowd took off their hats, with a thirst for vengeance gleaming in their eyes, and so excited the poor woman that she wept bitterly. Such a perfect frenzy of enthusiasm was thus aroused in the breasts of these benighted Buckeye boys that a rebel would have fared badly had oik- happened to be near. It never occurred to a man In the crowd that this widow's husband was killed by a man defending his own native soil; that the " rebels " never considered themselves as such, but fought for what they honestly and sincerely believed to be the simple right of self-government; or that anybody could conscientiously appeal to Heaven who fought in the southern ranks. Suppose our bereaved widows and destitute orphans were thus exhibited for political effect; what, then, would Forney and Greeley say? Language would fail them to express their indignation.
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Nat Berry




“Radical Demagoguism,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed February 22, 2019, http://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/335.